Monday, September 27, 2010

If I Were President

If I were President, I'd abolish the DEA and transfer their budget over to the Department of Energy. And when the Prohibitionists started weeping and moaning, I'd point out that the DEA did not exist for most of our nation's history, yet somehow the country got by just fine.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Learned How to Play Fetch

A dog of my acquaintance likes to play "grab the toy" with a squeezable, squeaking plastic fish. I didn't know this game to begin with, but she taught the rules to me. Holding it in her jaws, she approached me as though to surrender the toy. When I reached for it, she turned her head away. Indifferent, I walked away, but she followed, again offering the toy. When I lunged for it, she darted away. When I gave up, she dropped the toy on the ground and let me grab it, even though we both knew that she's faster than me. She pretended to be furious about this theft and pursued me, barking, until I threw it for her to fetch. We had several repetitions of this nature. She enjoyed this a great deal, and I did too. I was amused by the observation that the dog was smart enough to get me to do what it wanted me to do.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Our Decline

One of the problems with our nation's decline in power and prestige relative to China is that China has been emboldened to take the stick to its neighbors.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments


Legal decisions handed down by judges are not usually hilarious, but this one is. I think Judge Ed Carnes may have a second career awaiting him as a humorist.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ahmadinejad at the UN

One of the less irritating aspects of Iranian President Ahmadinejad is that I always have to copy and paste his name. The spelling is not intuitive.

I disagree with his assertion that "the majority of the American people as well as most nations and politicians around the world" agree with the view that "some segments" in U.S. government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. No one I know believes such a thing, and I mingle in liberal groups. I certainly have more faith in my government than to think a stunt like that would be pulled. The news would be explosive, many times worse than Watergate. It's unthinkable. Unless some excellent proof were made available, I would not even consider it. There is no parallel in American history, at least to my knowledge. Besides my faith in government, there is also my faith in government incompetence. A system that can't cover up Abu Ghairab certainly couldn't have gotten away with staging 9/11. They're just not that clever.

Now the Iranian government, on the other hand, is a different story. They indeed engage in deceit against their own citizens, having fixed an election, and they employ violence against peaceful protests. Perhaps Ahmadinejad is projecting his own values (or lack thereof) onto his enemy, failing to appreciate that his enemy is more scrupulous than he. Ethics are not understood by those who lack them.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Thursday, September 23, 2010

HIV Infections

The gay community continues to suffer a high infection rate from HIV. When I was young, I regarded getting tested as a rite of passage, besides a source of free condoms (they gave them out at the clinic). I was all about safe sex and could recite all the major recommendations. I'm not sure many young people are as vigilant about disease as they could be. Instead of approaching the ritual with the reverence it deserves, young lovers rush into things under the influence of hormones and alcohol. Sometimes things that should be remembered, such as a condom and how to use it, are forgotten. Then begins a lifetime of coping with unpleasant maladies such as gonorrhea, herpes, genital warts or worse, HIV. Worse is the knowledge that one may infect future lovers. Not everyone is forthcoming with crucial information regarding their infection status. It is the rare individual that is honest about such a matter.

Our college professor preaches to us about political subjects, even though she is supposed to be teaching chemistry. Today she offered us her opinion on sex education, which to her mind ends with abstinence. That road leads to death. Young people should be aware of condoms and how to use them. There is nothing gained by withholding lifesaving information. Her opinion about condoms is that "well, they don't always work." Condoms are the best known defense against HIV during the sex act, period, end of story. No, they are not a perfect protection, but what is? I have yet to meet anyone that contracted HIV while engaging in safer sex.

Abstinence is a good idea for those that are still in high school. I'm all for it. I am also in favor of monogamy, although it is not the choice of everyone. But teenagers should be taught about condoms and supplied with condoms and other forms of birth control if they request them. Today, with HIV, it is a matter of life and death.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments


I knew zucchinis were good for you, but I didn't know they could protect you, as well.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saxby Chambliss and a Call for Murder

Recently, someone traced to an IP address associated with the office of Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) posted on a blog, "all faggots must die," which summarizes the Republican viewpoint. Although some are protesting this, I think it is a rare example of honesty on the Republican side. Republican hate is real, motivating all of their actions. The rest of their argument against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is composed of lies.

If Saxby Chambliss or his out-of-control henchmen go gunning for gays, then I am prepared to defend myself and my property. I am not afraid to die and do not fear cold-blooded murderers.

Update: Chambliss apologized and fired a member of his staff, who remains anonymous. That's good enough for me. I have always been impressed by apologies. It always surprises me to learn that someone has a bigger heart and a wiser head than I had assumed based upon a previous observation. I think that Chambliss did the right thing in this instance. I would have done the same.

However, I do hope the incident causes Chambliss to reflect upon his positions on other issues involving gays, and in particular, our brave gay soldiers. The comment had said, "all faggots must die." The "faggots" serving our country in uniform are willing to die to protect our country. They should be treated with dignity and respect, not kicked out of the military. I don't think it is much to ask to request that their sexual orientation be left alone. We are lucky that they are willing to put their lives at risk for us.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bravo for Zuckerberg

Bravo to Mark Zuckerberg for pledging $100 million dollars to the Newark public school system in New Jersey.

I don't care what the movie says about him. I think that with philanthropy, no one should look a gift horse in the mouth. It a fine thing when a wealthy person gives back to the community. I think it is a good way of polishing one's legacy.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sen. McCain, Nothing but an Empty Suit

"I regret to see that the long-respected and revered Senate Armed Services Committee has evolved into a forum for a social agenda of the liberal left of the Senate," Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said last week on the Senate floor.

What's McCain talking about? An attempt to lift the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rule that discriminates against gays in the military. Someone needs to point out to Mr. McCain that a majority of Americans now support lifting the ban.

I used to like Sen. John McCain when he was running against George W. Bush. He used to favor allowing gays in the military. He used to be a rare maverick in the Republican party about ten years ago, but for the sake of political expediency, he degenerated into an empty suit filled up with prejudices from conservative Christian groups. I have lost all respect for McCain and will be pleased when his time in public office has come to an end.


Even though military leaders, rank and file service members, and the majority of the American public wanted to end the discrimination, the US Senate was unable to block a filibuster on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Led by John McCain, Senate Republicans have stopped the recall of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" for now.

For more information, check here.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Monday, September 20, 2010

The DEA Should Relocate to Iran

In a CNN article on Proposition 19, which will legalize marijuana, there is a link given that supposedly explains why the former DEA chiefs frown on legalization. The real reason is that they want to continue soaking taxpayers for billions of dollars to wage war against American citizens. The proper place for a former DEA chief is in Iran, where he will feel right at home. The country founded by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson--both marijuana farmers--is not the right country for them.

Proposition 19 certainly has made some odd bedfellows. The Mexican Mafia, pot dealers, and pot growers are on the same side as the DEA. Both sides of the drug war want the war to continue, because it has proven extremely lucrative for their selfish interests. The same scenario applied during Prohibition (of alcohol).

by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Here's to Home Depot

I've opened up the "good news" category because most news tends to be bad news. Worse, most of my blog entries tend to criticize the negative elements in the world. Writers everywhere often focus upon the negative--political writers more so than others. The reasons why are obvious. What is the point of extolling something that is already working fine? Most people will agree if something is working without any problems, so there does not seem to be any point in discussing it.

My electric Black & Decker weed eater broke after three years of service. I imagined I'd have to buy a new one. I emailed the manufacturer and got the runaround. They told me I did not enter the model number in the correct space in my email. They have an automated email bot that requires all information to be entered in a precise location. After my second email bounced, I called the toll-free number, was put on hold, and then spoke with a CSR, who told me the nearest repair facility was a hundred miles away. I called the repair center, and they said the weed eater's warranty had probably expired, but they weren't sure, so they suggested that I take it back to the store I bought it from, Home Depot. Trouble was, I didn't have any receipt.

The CSR at Home Depot said, "Go ahead and pick out a new one." I was flabbergasted. I expected to come home empty-handed, and at any other store, that would have been the case. I felt grateful and picked a box that had been damaged in shipping, although the weed eater itself was fine. That was my way to pay back Home Depot for doing the right thing.

Some people probably abuse the privilege of return. In areas where returns are abused, store policy may require a valid receipt.

I remain a big fan of the Home Depot chain and prefer it over all competitors. I have had good experiences there on a consistent basis.

by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We are Marvelous Machines

The complexity of human physiology intimidates me. I find myself more sympathetic of doctors. Their job must be the toughest one of all, with such high stakes. One of the problems with medical science is that there is a great deal we still don't know. Mysteries remain. Research continues in order to verify new theories and test new treatments.

My college updated our textbook after only two years, leaving students like me stranded with an unsellable edition. However, I think it will be a good reference to have on my shelf. I may want to do some recreational reading in the future. Many of my long-standing questions about the human experience seem to be answered in its pages.

We are marvelous machines.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

A Stimulus Story

$800,000 of the stimulus money was used to teach African men how to wash their uncircumcised genitals.

Perhaps the stimulus managed to stimulate something after all.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Can't Refute Calderon

I have to agree with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

Five seconds ago, CNN posted his remarks, and then deleted them. However, I remember what was posted.

"We live next to the world's largest drug consumer, and all the world wants to sell them drugs through our door and our window. We also live next to the world's largest arms supplier, which arms our criminals."

The legalization of marijuana would crush the Mexican drug lords. No other illegal drug approaches the popularity, safety and usefulness of marijuana. Legalization of all drugs would be the best scenario, but even the legalization of marijuana alone would have a most profound impact upon the underground economy.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

50 Cent: Talentless Airhead

I saw 50 Cent on The Graham Norton Show and thought him a talentless, egotistical know-nothing. Now he has proven himself beyond doubt to be exactly what I thought he was.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Iran Sets a Ransom

Iran has set a ransom of half a million dollars for the kidnapped American female hiker. The nerve of those barbarians. No one should visit that barbarous region of the world without a stockpile of grenades, a machine gun, and a cyanide capsule in the event of imminent capture, because the fanatics are fond of torture. Sadism is institutionalized in Iran.

If the kidnapped hikers were spies, then it is a great pity they were apprehended without inflicting any Iranian casualties. They should have slain the maximum number of fanatics prior to capture and then detonated their own suicide vests to give the fanatics a nice little dose of their own medicine. The more of the regime's henchmen converted into fertilizer, the better for the race of men.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mongolian Mormons?

The largest groups converting Mongolians are American Mormons and South Korean fundamentalists. Those possessed by memes become zealous proselytizers in much the same way that a cell, possessed by a virus, becomes a propagation factory for the virus.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Burning the Koran?

It is an ill omen that the action of a small-time backwoods preacher compels the President of the United States, our top generals, and our Secretary of State to speak out. Much ado over nothing, if you ask me.

Whether someone decides to burn the Koran in public does not seem worthy of notice to me. In the past, fundamentalist preachers have burned greater works of literature than the Koran. Works by Charles Darwin have been burned along with other tracts deemed homosexual, atheist or socialist. Record albums by the Beatles have been burned that are of greater merit than the Koran.

If someone decides to attack America based upon the independent actions of a small-time preacher, then they would probably attack America anyway, and are just looking for an excuse.

I never burned a Bible, but many years ago, I did deface a Gideon's Bible in a hotel room by sticking used chewing gum in Leviticus, which has been used by fundamentalist preachers to condemn homosexuals. They had persuaded me that the Bible was an anti-gay hate book. Later in life, I encountered moderate Christians, which changed my perspective. I had been ashamed of my book-defacing for years until I read an interview with a famous gay actor, who confessed he ripped out the chapter of Leviticus in a Gideon's Bible in a hotel room, while leaving the rest intact. I was relieved that such a great man committed the same minor sin as I did. It was a childlike expression of anger, but caused no great harm I think. Few Christians find their favorite passages in Leviticus, which is a boring list of dietary and cultural rules that the vast majority of Christians do not follow.

I never burned or defaced the Koran, but that is probably due to lack of opportunity more than anything else. I would not burn the Koran today, for one good reason--I would have to buy one, as I don't own one at present. Buying a book just to burn it seems counterproductive. The act of buying it increases its sales figures and helps to promote it in the eyes of publishers and the reading public. Burning is a futile gesture that only satisfies those possessed of a childlike nature and understanding of the world, similar to the burning of effigies of the preacher by Muslim crowds or the defacing of Leviticus by yours truly. Besides, the book is of historical interest.

I'm not entirely hostile to Islam. Under different circumstances, I could be a Muslim. It would have to be a liberal, intellectual interpretation of Islam, under Sufi auspices and a dense haze of ganja, of which the Sufis were known to partake in order to bring them closer to God. The five-times daily prostrated prayer would have to go, as well as the alien garb and prohibition of pork. But a liberal tradition such as I describe is often persecuted in the hardcore Muslim nations such as Iran. The adherents are marginalized in their society.

Postscript: I read the excellent New York Times article on new developments in the case and was impressed with Obama's explanation for speaking out. I am now persuaded he was right to speak out against the Koran burning. I agree it is foolish to make an intentional insult to another group of people. Perhaps it seems like a small thing to me, but small things become magnified through the lens of the media. If it were not for television, who would know or care what a small-time preacher does?

Perhaps there is a great simmering anger towards the West in the Muslim community for perceived offenses. It is true that our forces have invaded two Muslim countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm sure that doesn't play out very well in public opinion. It is even worse that our cultures are so different. War enforces interaction between the two groups that would seem to be incompatible in many ways.

I believe the media gives too much ear to agitators on both sides, which serves to inflame and polarize public opinion. The level of discourse is now being set by the media, whereby the lowest common denominator gets the most attention.

Postscript #2: Sounds a bit like the person behind the proposed mosque two blocks from Ground Zero is profiteering over the situation. He is a bit more cunning than I thought. The entire thing may be nothing but an elaborate charade designed to make a substantial profit upon resale.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Big Words

There is no doubt in my mind that video has defeated writing and even standalone music as a medium. Next on the horizon is 3D video, which will defeat 2D video in the long run. I missed the boat to the video revolution. There were no cheap cameras available to me growing up, other than a single $69.95 Polaroid that I bought and used on many occasion, each grainy, low-resolution instant photo costing $1-$2 in 1980 dollars! Video was beyond the reach of a young person of my means.

I have been invited, along with many people in a group, to tell my story in front of a video camera, but I'm camera-shy and convinced I would not make a good showing. I've never liked public speaking, which is essentially what videos are.

I like writing better. I love the delete key. Writing allows me to parse my thoughts in a more organized fashion. Only in writing do I feel like I have a measure of control over the final product.

I have a love of big words, and my prose has a business-like or legal flavor to some ears. Some people find me arrogant because of my word choices and the way that I speak. But I was brought up to speak in the way I do, both my parents being involved in education. I loved words from the start and was an avid reader. The SAT and other standardized tests informed me that my verbal aptitude outstripped my mathematical aptitude.

In class yesterday, I was discussing grocery stores with another student, and said, "I like Publix, but would not suggest Food Lion." She looked away from me and said in a derisive tone, "He said he would not suggest Food Lion." I've noticed that she has the stick for most people, including our innocuous professor, so I was not offended, but I found it interesting that my manner of speech was an issue again. That has long been the case.

In my teenage years, I adopted an urban Southern slang, with many words and phrases borrowed from the black culture, in order to deflect criticism. I used words like "ain't," except I shorted it to "ain," just as most words became shortened. Slang tries to render English briefer, more fluid, and obscene. Every other word was "f*" or "s*" in order to express the emotional context. The four-letter words functioned as verbs, nouns, adjectives, and sometimes adverbs. I had to drop this cant in college in order to receive any respect from students and professors. There is such a thing as going too far in the other direction. So I reverted to my indigenous style, which is also the way I write.

I remember as far back as the eighth grade, I was standing up on a bus facing the other boys and trying to tell a funny story that I had heard from a comedian. I thought I was doing a good job, until my old enemy, who harassed me through first grade to eighth, crept behind me and kicked me in the butt, which aborted my story-telling, not that anyone cared. In retrospect, I wasn't a natural at story-telling. The comedian did a much better job. Besides, the comedian was not a popular one, but a regional comedian that had been popular ten or twenty years ago. My parents liked him, but not many other people did, a point I was not aware of at the time.

I knew my enemy was stronger, so I did not have a chance of prevailing in a fight, but he was also intelligent and would listen if I argued with him, because he thought he could out-argue anyone, in addition to out-fight. I moved to the front of the bus, where he sat. The bus driver scolded me for moving, which I thought was ironic, because he had said nothing in the case of my enemy. Nevertheless, I apologized and stared straight ahead until the bus driver quit looking at me through the mirror. Then I turned to my enemy, calling him by his name. He could not ignore me, although he tried. I was not to be deterred by insults, but stared into his eyes. Nothing else had any moment for me, not the bus, the bus driver, or the others. Eventually he turned to face me. When I asked him why he did it, he said it was because I had a big head and thought I was better than everyone else. I told him that was not the case. Why did he think so? He said that I used big words, and the reason must be that I was showing off. I was not aware of using big words, so I asked him which ones in particular he had in mind. He said words like "beyond" were not used by anyone else, and I was just showing off by using them. I told him I didn't think "beyond" was a big word. It was used by many people and showed up in many books. He begged to differ.

He was at that moment, as always, in the company of the prettiest boy in the school. While we argued, my eyes darted to his long-term companion and then back to him, and I grinned, as if to say, "I know your secret, and if you bother me again, I will tell others."

He never hit me again and endeavored to avoid crossing my path. The last time I saw him, he was standing by the flat tire of his car, looking perplexed. I walked past him without a word. Anyone else, I would have helped, because my house was just a block away. He said nothing to me, knowing I had the memory of many wrongs committed by him, not just the one I have recounted.

His father dropped dead in his manager's office of a heart attack. I do not think the lemon fell far from the tree. Egoism sometimes rewards the bearer with material success, but it is a lonely and fretful existence.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Colonizing a Distant Planet

I wonder whether there is intelligent life on other planets or moons in the Universe. If so, what is the nature of the alien race? I also wonder whether there are planets conducive to supporting intelligent life that are as yet vacant. It would be beneficial to colonize another planet in order to hedge our bets in regards to the planet Earth, which could succumb to global warming, an asteroid strike, warfare among humans, or the explosion of the Sun.

The vast distances between planets seems like an insurmountable problem when it comes to the possibility of contacting an intelligent alien civilization. If we were ever to make contact with aliens, or if we detected a vacant but inhabitable planet, the distance may be so great that a visit from us would be high risk, though not impossible.

In the case of a planet located a thousand light-years away, a space craft could transport a human female, who could clone herself multiple times for as long as needed, each time producing a perfect copy to replace her when she reached retirement age. Imagine a continuous series of women, spanning hundreds of generations, maintaining and operating the spacecraft until such time as it arrives at the destination planet.

Sending only one human, rather than a proverbial Adam and Eve, reduces costs. Everything I have ever read about space travel leads me to believe that the smaller the craft, the faster and the farther it can go. Furthermore, sexual reproduction introduces the problem of inbreeding, unless there is a population the size of a village aboard the spacecraft. Also, it must be acknowledged that wherever humans come together as a group, there is a possibility of discord, a possibility that that would be increased over hundreds or thousands of years. The smaller the group, the more cohesive, and a solitary individual might stand the best chance of all. If these difficulties are overcome through various means, then the cloning procedure mentioned above may be discarded. Admittedly, I'm charmed by the idea of a single person cloning herself for hundreds or even thousands of years. But perhaps a solo flight would be unnecessary in a nuclear-powered spacecraft. Yet another possibility is that the flight could be unmanned, and the spacecraft could carry little more than a pod containing human DNA, which a robot would then clone upon landing. But that is a less interesting scenario. I prefer to return to the solitary female astronaut.

Upon landing, the woman would set up a base camp and expand the cloning program to generate large numbers. Bonus for a planet with a water supply and oxygen-rich, breathable air. The human race could then establish itself upon its first permanent extraterrestrial outpost.

Eventually, sexual reproduction would need to be reintroduced in order to add an element of variability, which offers many advantages, such as adaptability. Is it possible to freeze sperm in a way that allows it to remain viable for thousands of years? I don't think so. Some method may be found to reintroduce the Y chromosome. Another possibility is that the cloning technique could be altered to introduce mutations on its own without the need for sexual reproduction.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Professional Sports--Another Scam

Professional sports have been draining taxpayers dry since I don't know when. Here's the latest story on the waste of state and local tax money.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Surprising Words from Fidel Castro

Castro appears determined to make amends for discrimination against homosexuals in Cuba's past.

Perhaps it is time for the U.S. to lift sanctions against the tiny island-nation, which is not a realistic threat to anyone anymore.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Torture News from the Islamic Republic

I think that the Islamic Republic is using the case of the woman facing stoning for adultery as a means to instill terror in their citizens. Only through fear can the Islamic Republic retain its grip upon power.

Today I read that, in addition to stoning, the Islamic Republic has added a sentence of 99 lashes for another supposed crime. This is to be carried out prior to the stoning to death.

The Vatican has protested the sentence. Many Western nations have expressed disagreement with the sentence. Where are the protests originating from Islamic nations?
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Democrats Flubbed the Stimulus

I think that voters' discontent with Democratic incumbents centers around the fact that the stimulus package has not produced the desired results in our economy. People ask, "Where are the jobs?"

I have to agree. I think the stimulus package failed in many of its objectives. As Jon Stewart pointed out, it seemed designed to help fat cats, not the common people, i.e., the voters. Much of the money was wasted, resulting in nothing except an increase in the budget deficit. Quite naturally, the voters intend to punish the incumbents who pushed it through.


If only the Democrats would quit trying to be Republicans! If the Democrats had been a truly left wing and liberal party, they would not be in the unpleasant situation that they now find themselves.

I will vote for the Democrats in the upcoming election, as I always do, but without much hope.

I think an FDR-style jobs program would have been more to the point. An existing program, Americorps, should have been expanded tenfold, soaking up the unemployed and training them in viable occupational skills. All that is moot now, because once the Republicans get into power, the economy will only worsen. There would be grounds for hope if the opposition had good ideas, but their policies led to our current problems.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Nicolas Sarkozy's Immigration Proposals

Immigration laws should discriminate. There are many law-abiding, honest, talented, civilized and highly educated people eager and willing to abide by the laws of their host country. I know of one--my partner.

Sarkozy's proposals as outlined in a recent CNN article do not seem all that bad to me. The Islamization of France is indeed of concern, not just to France but to people who love the image of old France. Female circumcision, street crime and terrorism are not activities that should be tolerated in immigrants. Those who are not worthy of citizenship should be deported without any right of return.

Western countries have been far too liberal in their immigration policies in the past in the interest of cheap labor. France could degenerate into another barbaric and intolerant Muslim nation. When traveling in Amsterdam, the former gay editor of Southern Voice was viciously attacked along with his partner by a trio of Moroccan immigrants who disapproved of homosexuality. Criminal immigrants, along with their extended network of families and friends, should be forcibly repatriated to their home country and never allowed to visit again, lest they gain a foothold in their host country. Liberal groups that support the right of Muslims to create their own shadow state should review the status of their counterparts in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where liberals meet a quick and dirty end in Evin Prison. None of the protests in France would be tolerated in Iran, but would be met with the clubs, tear gas, water cannons, and bullets of the Basij.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

The Best Gift to Loved Ones

For people who are HIV negative and not suffering from any other incurable disease, and who do not expect to be a victim of violent death or suicide, body donation is an admirable method to eliminate all costs of burial and funeral from being passed on to surviving loved ones.

Funerals and cemeteries are overpriced, with the purveyors of such services enjoying a ghastly profit margin. Getting hit for thousands of dollars to dispose of a mere body adds debt to grief. I suggest the UCLA Body Donation Program. UCLA will cover all costs related to disposal. Other universities may have similar programs in place. I learned about this while reading an article in one of my favorite American newspapers, the Los Angeles Times.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Gold as a Long-Term Investment

I would be skeptical of placing too much confidence in precious metals as a long-term (say, twenty-year) hedge against inflation or economic or political turmoil, due to the possibility of creating or extracting synthetic precious metals. The old dream of the medieval alchemists has been achieved. At the moment, synthetic gold is not economically viable, but who knows what the future may bring.

Precious stones are already being synthesized in an economic fashion. I purchased a four-carat synthetic blue sapphire for my mother ten years ago.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

British Media

Of British news sources, I prefer the Guardian, the BBC, and the Telegraph, in order of preference. I learned today to avoid the Mirror, because that infernal web site disables the "Back" button on my internet browser.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Friday, September 3, 2010

On Reproduction

As I study human reproduction in my anatomy and physiology class, I have been reminded of my own destiny. I believe that human reproduction is a fascinating and miraculous process, which is also true in the case of reproduction of other life forms. I feel a temptation, when studying the human body, to forget that many other species share similar traits with us. We are unique in our mental capacity alone. Therefore, we should always try to use our brains to our own advantage and that of our beautiful planet.

I often hear my professors express wonderment that we were designed in such a perfect manner. Their allusion to the Deity is understood, but they neglect the role played by evolution, which knows nothing about design and is unaware of any advantages to our apparent design. Evolution is not God, or let us hope it is not, because if it is, then the last man standing is the Chosen. Evolution proceeds by the inefficient and wasteful trial-and-error process, whereas a Heavenly Engineer could indeed design Adam and Eve from the ground up in a single day, without the necessity of hundreds of millions of years. Evolution is a slow, bloody, cruel and ugly process. The weight of evidence does not disprove, but gives a contraindication for the existence of a benevolent God, although a stronger case could be made for an evil God. Richard Dawkins, one of my favorite scientists, has covered all of this territory admirably in his marvelous books and lectures.

Anyone who reproduces is making an input into the evolutionary process. Those who fail to reproduce remove their genetic configuration from the gene pool. They have been culled. A stigma is attached by the phrase "survival of the fittest," implying that those who do not survive or reproduce are less fit than those that do. I have asked myself, "Am I less fit? Am I an inferior specimen?" I don't know the answer to that question. Compared to some people, I do feel inferior. Compared to others, superior. Still others, roughly equal. But I avoid comparisons, because it is impossible to perceive everything about a person at a glance.

My genes are not my master. Instead, I am the master. It may be true that my genes are unrewarded by evolution, in that they are not passed on to future generations. Does this mean I "lose?" What exactly do I lose? I think that all of us are equal in death. Those who "win" by having more descendants bear more responsibility for the outcome of the human race. I can only hope they know what they are doing. The future is unclear, and I don't think anyone can assume they have won anything without being able to see until the end of the Universe, at which point everyone will be equal anyway. The Universe, physicists tell us, is finite, and life will one day be extinguished. Placed in that context, what exactly is "won?" Instead of winning or losing, we are building castles in the sand to be erased by the coming tide.

In my younger years, I was motivated to raise a family and have a long line of descendants. Many men have a dynastic ambition. Children and grandchildren are an enviable achievement that accrues honor in human society. There is also an ambition to influence future generations of men. Although one may be relatively unimportant, a hope for greatness lingers as long as there is a seed.

On a scale of sexuality, with 1 being heterosexual and 6 being homosexual, I'd probably be a 5. Homosexuality puts one at a disadvantage in pursuing heterosexual relationships. There isn't enough zeal. For a heterosexual, pursuing the opposite sex is an all-consuming affair. No expense is spared. Heterosexuals possess a certain spark that arises around the opposite sex. There have also been studies that show that heterosexual men exude pheromones that women find enticing.

Despite the uneven playing field, I chose several women and had a modest measure of success in terms of landing dates, second dates, and even casual relationships. I would like to say that I chose on the basis of merit. That would be ideal, but how often does it happen? Not very, from what I gather. I think I fell in love with physical appearances, the same as heterosexual men tend to do, although I preferred a more masculine face and body, even if the equipment were female. At the time, I thought these women were the most fascinating things alive. I was indeed in love or thought I was at the time. Later observations indicated my optimism was excessive. In any event, the relationships ended in a very short amount of time, though not in any dramatic fashion. It was just not meant to be, as they say. Time passed, and at my present age, I do not believe it remotely possible that I could win over a worthy female of child-bearing age. I am not willing to dilute my blood with such women that I could still obtain. In my view, each generation should surpass the last and not represent a decline.

Many people have low standards. They settle for what they can get and produce children simply because they want to have children or because of an accident. Other people remain sterile for lack of a worthy mate. I have noticed a surprising number of women opting not to procreate, and why should they, if they cannot find a proper man? Quality is indeed important. Settling for whatever comes one's way explains many of the problems in the world. There would be no more criminals born if men and women scrutinized their prospective mates more closely. Men should look beyond beauty. Women should look beyond rank.

Dreams of a dynasty have altered into an acceptance of the finality of my own death.
There are consolations. I am free to think, to imagine, and to write, or to spend my time however I please. Much of parenting seems like drudgery, and parents are blamed in our society for things beyond their control. Also, reproduction is a gamble, because there is no telling--at this time--whether the offspring will carry a genetic defect, in which case there is no refund, no exchange, and the government requires eighteen years of loyal servitude.

If my parents foresaw that I would be homosexual, there is little doubt I would have been aborted. Such a reflection does not give me any dismay, because in that case, I simply would not exist. If I did not exist, I would certainly have no cause for complaint, now would I? All things considered, the world would probably be better off with just one sexual preference, rather than two, because the human race is intolerant of differences of any kind, an innate weakness in H. Sapiens that has resulted in more problems than any other.

The world is much easier for straight people. My offspring would be a kind and thoughtful person, but such people tend to be taken advantage of in my experience. The early years, in particular, are a trial. I would never wish my childhood on anybody. War and devastation of the population may prove a bitter medicine for the world's ills, and I doubt my genetics would be any good at that sort of mischief. Others will supply the necessary genetics. Sometimes I catch glimpses of what will be and am glad I will not be there to witness it. What the world needs are fire-breathing dragons that can grip enemies in their talons and rip them apart. I have nothing of the dragon in me, being more elf-like on the whole.

It is a comfort to know that I've led a blameless life, all things considered, not creating any new problems. Some people appreciate my presence. I enjoy a healthy and strong monogamous homosexual relationship. I like having a clean conscience and not being entangled in any sort of unpleasant or dramatic relationship. Too often, it seems, heterosexual relationships end in divorce. I do not know whether it is the fault of men or of women in general. It is probably a little bit on both sides. When I look at married straight couples, I seldom feel envy, even though I realize that they will inherit the world. My own line is doomed. I hope that they make the right choices in regards to politics, the environment, and the economy. But if they don't, it will only trouble me for a brief time before my candle burns out. Then it's their barrel of monkeys.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

A Real Drug Problem

Marijuana has long constituted an imaginary drug problem in America. In reality, it is less harmful than aspirin. It is impossible to overdose on marijuana. Any competent doctor or nurse will inform a patient that it is possible to overdose on aspirin, and some patients do just that.

What is a real drug problem in America? "More than 500,000 children and adolescents in America are now taking antipsychotic drugs, according to a September 2009 report by the Food and Drug Administration." That is quite a lot of psychosis--or over-diagnosis. Big Pharma is laughing all the way to the bank.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Is God Necessary?

ABC News' web site, of all places, carries a lively forum debate over the existence of God.

Ideally, both believers and nonbelievers hold similar views on most other questions. Faith in God is immediately replaced by Faith in Goodness by an ethical person who subscribes to atheism. God is not necessary for any equations, theories, or other practical matters in our daily lives. Believers and nonbelievers share similar concerns, interests, and passions.

I feel ignorant about science and do not understand as many things as I would like. I'm not quite confident enough to withhold any chance for the existence of supernatural beings, or for that matter, extraterrestrial beings. If I had been told that there were Martians living on Mars with an advanced civilization, then I would probably believe it, if enough people of my acquaintance seemed convinced. If I heard people speaking with God on a regular basis as though he were present, particularly at a young age, then it might influence me to believe and to begin talking to him, as well. As a boy, I did pray on occasion, although it concerned me that none of my prayers ever came true, and often the things I prayed not to happen, happened anyway, and I never seemed to receive any divine communication whatsoever. I remember listening for a voice, but never heard one, which perhaps is for the best. If God was there, he was doing a good job hiding his presence.

Based on what I've read and heard about from other people, and based on the explanations given to me by devout believers, I think that the atheist camp probably has more truth on its side. Atheists do not believe in what they do not know about, and that seems a commendable policy. They are the same as agnostics, except they keep a tighter lid on the djinni bottle. Nothing exists until it is proven, in their view. The agnostics prefer to say, nothing is either proven nor unproven, which is a very liberal policy indeed, leaving the door open to all kinds of nonsense, such as goblins, vampires, wizards, demons, dragons, a flat Earth, an immobile Sun, and so on.

However, the existence of God is a narrow topic. It does not touch upon ethics, society, science, or human behavior. Both the atheist and the theist can believe the same way in regards to politics, music, art, and everything else. I do not see where God enters into the picture. God seems minor by comparison with other things of more importance to human beings. The believers tend to dwell upon God, as though he is more important than other concerns, when he is not, because being God, he can take care of things himself, without our action or advice. Indeed our only duty should be to one another.

It is interesting that few of the believers have ever really described God in his physical aspect, or described the means by which he obtains energy and moves around, so to speak. Pagan writers were far more explicit about their gods, including their amorous lives. The modern religions prefer to imbue their deity with the gravitas bestowed by mystery and elusiveness. Perhaps the early Fathers learned a lesson from the indiscretion of the Pagan writers and endeavored not to commit the same mistake. Once a god's sex life has been disclosed, it rather removes the aura of mystery.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments


Anyone pointing the finger at American forces for supposed crimes has to take into account the opposition as well. On the whole, American forces have conducted themselves far better in Afghanistan than the Taliban. There is simply no comparison between the two sides in terms of ethics. I find it hypocritical of Wikileaks to publish military secrets of the Americans, because it seems unlikely Wikileaks would ever have the courage to publish military secrets of the Taliban, or another Muslim insurgency, for fear of reprisal.

I find it difficult to comprehend why a Taliban sympathizer, whatever his religious beliefs, would attack a girl's school with poison gas, or attack schoolgirls with acid, just for the supposed "crime" to trying to become educated.

I think it is fair to depict the Taliban as absolute evil, without any capacity for ethics. They attack soft targets, lacking defenses, and they attack innocent non-combatants. They are enemies of humankind, no different than virulent strains of viruses or bacteria. Whether we should be in there attempting to eradicate them on our dime is another question. But I certainly think that fighting the Taliban is a worthwhile and honorable occupation, whatever might be determined by a cost/benefit analysis of the overall conflict. The more Taliban put beneath the soil, the better for the race of man.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

"I want Obama to fail." -- Rush Limbaugh

This sentiment, repeated by conservative commentators, has been a self-fulfilling prophecy so far in 2010. Rush Limbaugh spoke for all of his constituency. Rich right-wing business owners want the President to fail. They want the Democrats to fail. They are doing whatever is in their power to ensure a lackluster economy. Even those owners who are neutral have been persuaded by a climate of doubt and uncertainty. The right-wing media distorts and exaggerates to achieve political ends. Faux News is nothing but a continuous negative ad aimed at Democrats. Repeated on a continual basis are charges that Obama is socialist, Muslim, or racist. Due to the efforts of Faux News, a surprising percentage of Americans believe that Obama is Muslim. Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress block measures that would provide relief to American workers. Some Republican governors spurn Federal relief money for the sake of partisan politics. It is considered acceptable to inflict suffering upon the middle and lower classes in order to score partisan points.

Economists dwell upon numbers, but hearts and minds are just as important. If the racist and reactionary owners want the economy to be bad, just for the satisfaction of seeing Obama portrayed as wrong, then the economy will be bad.

Faux News is the enemy, a fair-seeming villain that speaks with a forked tongue. It may defeat America by exploiting the weakness that Americans have for superficial forms, such as patriotism and prayer. A cunning villain will not wear a black hat, but will wear the garb of a preacher and wave the flag, borrowing some of the dignity and authority of God and Country.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Believe the Vatican

I don't see eye to eye with the Vatican on many issues, but I think it is probably correct in its accusation that most of Pakistani flood relief is being distributed to fundamentalist Muslims, while Christian victims receive less aid.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions